Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Motivational Talks Won't Be Needed

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Motivational Talks Won't Be Needed

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- It doesn't take much to get most Penguins players excited about a game against Washington or Philadelphia, likely their two biggest rivals.

Fact is, simply releasing the schedule is enough to do it.

Consequently, coach Dan Bylsma shouldn't have much trouble getting his players to focus this week because the Penguins will play both.

Twice.

Each time, on consecutive days.

The Penguins opened a home-and-home with the Capitals Monday night at the Verizon Center with a rematch tonight at Consol Energy Center.

They will visit Philadelphia Saturday and take on the Flyers at home Sunday.

"You did that in junior a little bit," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "You don't see that as much in the NHL, where you're playing the same team two games in a row.

"There's a rivalry with those teams and there's a certain amount of intensity that comes with those games, so I think it can only add to it, the fact we're playing back-to-back against both."

Left winger Tanner Glass agreed.

"That's the kind of thing that builds rivalries," he said. "I'd imagine that kind of thing doesn't happen on the schedule by accident. I think it's fun."

Picture this

While the Penguins are jousting with Boston for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, Washington is part of a cluster of teams hoping simply to qualify for the postseason.

The challenge facing the Capitals can be daunting, but center Troy Brouwer said they have found a way to avoid getting distracted by the big-picture implications of every game. Since returning from the Olympic break, he said, Washington has broken its season into three-game segments, the most recent of which began with a 3-2 victory Saturday against Phoenix.

"If we can come out on top in most of those series, we'll be in the playoffs at the end of it," Brouwer said. "When you can look at smaller pictures, the bigger picture doesn't look so tough. …

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